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Best Violins For Beginners Reviewed
An introduction to the world of musical instruments via a deficient instrument is not going to be supportive of growth and longevity. It’s much more likely to become a regrettable experience, to say the least.
Violin is an incredibly lovely instrument to listen to, and one that requires significant practice in order to learn. It’s important to start off on the right foot when learning any instrument, and the violin fits this pattern as well.
Regardless of whether you or your child are learning the graceful art of the violin, it is vital to find the very best violin for beginners in order to encourage the learning process.
If you currently play or have played a stringed instrument, such as a guitar, then you know how important it is to learn on a comfortable instrument. Much like guitar, a lot of practice time on a violin can cause sore fingertips, even on a high quality instrument with an excellent set up. As you can imagine, a violin with a poor setup, very high action, or one that doesn’t hold a tune is going to be greatly discouraging to a new student.
It will be super beneficial to do a bit of reading, and consider some student violin reviews to make sure your investment provides exactly what you need, while still offering affordability and quality.
To help folks sort out the good from the bad, we put together a review of 5 of the best beginner violins that offer a ton of quality and that won’t break the bank. When searching for a good quality student violin, it is vital to consider playability, sound quality, durability, and affordability, to name a few.
You can see a quick comparison of our top 5 beginner violins in the feature chart. For more details – read about the features our top picks offer to new violin students, as well as how and why we selected our favorite violins for beginners below.
As you will see, we were really impressed with these top 5 student violins. These instruments really won us over, and we are sure they will make a perfectly good budget violin for any student.
Without further adieu, let’s jump right in!
Top Violin For Beginners Comparison Chart
Best Violin For Beginners
Cremona has been a little bit sneaky with its new SV-500. While the violin targets the entry-level market, the quality of the materials and the sound is more akin to something you’d find at the mid-range price point. In this sense, this model is something of a dark horse. On the surface, it looks like a violin for beginners, but when you dig a little deeper, you quickly find out that there’s more to it than this.
Take the bow, for instance. Instead of using cheap, synthetic products, Cremona opted for genuine horsehair. On top of that, the main unit makes use of first-rate craftsmanship, with impeccable detailing in both the wood and the lacquer. What you see isn’t a faux-effect, but the real grain of the maple, as it arrives at Cremona’s production facility.
This instrument, therefore, is more than just a beginner violin. While it will thrill new students, it is also suitable for those who want to move onto a second or even third instrument. The quality ebony fittings and the Stradivarius-style chinrest give it the feel of something much more expensive than its price point would imply.
So who’s this violin for? Fundamentally, it is for those just starting out. Despite the small outlay, it offers an enormous return. Few intermediate violinists will be disappointed by this product, even those who have been playing for years. For parents, it’s a godsend, too, providing a platform for children to advance to a high level, all at low-end prices.
- Strings Magazine reviews SV-500 as "a good choice for anyone looking for a first or second violin" See Video and Product Details PDF file below for the complete review
- Best tone quality for the advanced student and Cremona's most popular violin for sound.Case: Lightweight oblong rigid foam with four bow holders and hygrometer
- Flamed maple with a rich, hand applied reddish-brown varnish finish, hand carved solid spruce and solid maple body
- Set-up to MENC Standards at our Cremona workshop in California with French-made Aubert bridge and US-made Prelude strings
- Low profile, lightweight and well designed Stradivarius-style chinrest, deluxe Brazilwood bow and oblong case
Just like the Cremona, the Bunnel Premier (made by Kennedy Violins) offers customers the best of both worlds: a high-performance violin in a low-cost package.
Kennedy Violins’ primary focus with the Bunnel Premier is to create a violin that not only looks the part but plays well too. The supplied case is nothing short of spectacular, with its blue-velveted interior and individual sections for accessories. On top of that, the instrument has a stunning, oiled wood finish – a feature that you’d expect to see on much more expensive models.
Kennedy Violins wants to differentiate itself from the competition by providing a superior overall customer experience. When you order the product, for example, the company doesn’t just pack it into a box and pop it in the post. Instead, they provide free expert setup to get you up and running immediately – a service that the company claims exceeds all MENC standards. Thus, every violin you order comes tuned and set up for your individual needs. Not bad, eh?
The Bunnel Premier is not short on features either. It offers four premium-grade independent fine tuners, an ebony tailpiece, hand construction, and inlaid purfling. The bow is made of authentic Brazilwood and comes with a Mongolian horsehair bow and mother of pearl inlay on frog. The case even features a hygrometer, allowing you to measure humidity, should you need to.
Kennedy Violins knows that what beginner violinists want more than anything else is support. The company, therefore, provides as much assistance as possible in the form of instructions, charts, and measurement information. It also gives detailed sizing instructions and shows you how and where to measure to find an instrument with the correct fit.
The Bunnel Premier, therefore, is a safe, reliable choice for budding violinists. Kennedy Violins is the highest-rated violin company in the US for customer care, and it shows. While there are other strong contenders in this review for your money, there’s no doubt that you’ll love the company’s comprehensive support and high-quality products.
- [PROFESSIONALLY SET UP CLEARANCE] The following instrument is listed on clearance due to a slight cosmetic defect that does not affect playability or sound in any way. Our 1/8 size Bunnel Violin is the upgrade from our Bunnel Pupil violin outfit. It features improved quality of wood, providing a richer, warmer sound and is professionally set up by our experienced luthiers.
- [SOLID MAPLE WOOD] Naturally dried maple and tight-grained spruce from the Himalayas are used to build your new 1/8 size violin. Inlaid purfling A custom-fit, high-grade maple bridge, High-grade ebony fittings including polished fingerboard and pegs.
- [ACCESSORIES INCLUDED] Your Bunnel Premier violin outfit comes with; Portland Carbon fiber Shoulder Rest, Intro to Violin book, KV Clip-on Tuner, Polishing cloth, Backup strings, Giuliani Rosin, Giuliani Brazilwood Bow, and a Portland Oblong carrying case.
- [HIGHEST QUALITY VIOLIN] Kennedy Violins is known for having the highest-quality craftsmanship and performance instruments. Playing your music with the best quality violin, as you know, makes all the difference.
- [LIFETIME GUARANTEE] All of our Bunnel Pupil Violins are fully backed by a lifetime warranty and a 45-day money-back guarantee. Are you ready to try out your new Kennedy violin outfit?
Despite its target market, Mendini is a somewhat serious brand, looking to entice customers who would otherwise be willing to spend a lot of money elsewhere.
The first thing you’ll notice about the MV500+92D is the rich, dark maple. The instrument features hand-carved spruce, full varnish, and inlaid purfling. The ebony fingerboard complements the unit perfectly, giving it a solemn, almost moody appearance.
Like the other companies targeting the beginner violin market in this list, Mendini offers detailed sizing information, helping customers find the correct model for themselves or their children. The vendor, however, takes a more severe approach, providing essential sizing guidance without any of the pictures or flamboyance of, say, Kennedy Violins.
The sound that the violin makes is, generally speaking, excellent. Some entry-level violins can be overly dark or light, but this is neither, taking the middle ground. It does not produce a shrill or piercing sound which can be problematic for people just starting,
The scroll is hand-carved, but on some models, this is not necessarily a good thing. While most examples of the violin have an excellent finish, some are sloppy.
The bridge is one of the most unusual features of the MV500. It is thicker than on most models, but this does not seem to make a significant difference to the overall acoustic properties.
As for accessories, the Mendini comes with plenty. The case is entirely rigid and comes with a cloth interior finish to provide added cushioning – helpful when being taken to school. The supplied tuner is an excellent addition, too, if you don’t have one already.
So who should buy the Mendini? Fundamentally, this is a violin for anyone who wants to be able to play their instrument without having to part with massive wads of cash. The entry-level price point leads you to believe that this is a beginner product, but it will happily suffice for intermediate players too.
- Solid hand-carved 1-piece maple back, neck and side violin wtih solid hand-carved spruce top with beautiful varnish finish & inlaid purfling
- Ebony fingerboard, pegs chin rest, and tailpiece with 4 detachable fine tuners
- Cecilio 92D chromatic / string tuner with metronome, 2 x Brazil wood bows with unbleached genuine Mongolian horsehair
- Includes: Lightweight hard case, adjustable shoulder rest, 2 bridges, quality rosin cake, and an extra set of violin strings.
- 1 Year Warranty Against Manufacturer's Defects
When Cecilio was designing the CVN-300, it is clear that they asked themselves what is a good beginner violin? Clearly, they wanted to create a product built from the ground up for people starting out. The evidence for this comes from the fact that the company decided to implement D’Addario Prelude Strings, a special type of string that uses a solid steel core surrounded by softer material. These strings tend to produce a brighter, more delicate sound than traditional steel strings, which can be quite shrill.
The result of this decision is a violin that stands out from the crowd among instruments in the segment. It is forgiving, encouraging young players to continue practicing. When you play the CVN-300, you feel as if you get results.
The overall customer experience, however, is different from that provided by some of the other vendors we discussed above. The Cecilio, for instance, does not come pre-tuned or set up for the individual users. You also have to rosin the bow yourself before you begin playing. It, therefore, expects a lot from you, especially if you have just started playing. You need to take care of the instrument and its tuning needs from day one.
The appearance of the CVN-200 is also a little more traditional than the other models that we have seen on this list. The antique varnish gives it a light, classic appearance you don’t often see on less expensive products.
This violin, therefore, is probably better targeted at keen adult beginners, not kids. While the Cecilio comes with ample instructions for setup, it expects you to do a lot of the hard work yourself. With that said, once you’re set-up, using the violin is a breeze.
- Size 3/4 violin with solid spruce wood top, maple back, neck and sides with inlaid purfling in antique varnish
- Ebony fingerboard, pegs chinrest, and tailpiece with 4 detachable nickel plated fine tuners
- Strung with D'Addario Prelude Strings
- Includes: Cecilio chromatic tuner, lesson book, lightweight hard case, 2 x Brazilwood bows with unbleached genuine Mongolian horsehair, quality rosin cake, adjustable shoulder rest, and an extra bridge
- 1 Year Warranty Against Manufacturer's Defects
The Stentor 1500 violin is not a professional-grade violin, and it doesn’t offer all of the features you’d get on a pricier model. With that said, though, it does produce a surprisingly high-quality sound that belies the price point.
Part of the reason for this has to do with how Stentor allocates the budget for the violin. The company doesn’t waste resources on items, like the case and tuner, that don’t add to the overall quality of the sound. Instead, it plows resources in the quality of the wood and bow, helping to keep it within budget.
This violin, therefore, is a strange animal. On the one hand, it comes with all of the heraldry of cheap models, but on the other, it provides high-quality maple and genuine horsehair.
Most people buy the Stentor see it as an investment. While it is not a professional-grade instrument, it will take you from rank beginner to advanced musician with no issues whatsoever. Eventually, you will run into sound limitations when playing highly complex pieces, but for most people, that is a long way off. This violin, therefore, may be the only instrument you ever need to buy, cutting down on lifetime costs of taking up violin playing as a hobby.
Another excellent feature of the Stentor is how serviceable it is. Many cheaper brands focus on keeping prices down and don’t include features that allow you to replace parts once they wear out quickly. The Stentor 1500, however, is different. Swapping out one component for another is a breeze.
The main takeaway here is this: the Stentor is probably the best-in-class for students. While it is made in China, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are no signs of hasty mass production here, and each instrument appears to receive the requisite attention to detail it needs.
- Hand crafted with fine-grained solid spruce top
- Solid maple back
- Full ebony fittings. Composite tailpiece integral adjusters
- Carved, maple neck
- Rope core strings